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while work has been kickin’ butt?

A whole lotta Griner and Baylor kickin’ Big 12 butt.

Oklahoma is continuing to win, despite injuries, and continuing to make Aston’s welcome to the Big 12 miserable.

TCU ain’t enjoying the Big 12 much, neither.

Texas Tech getting a nice, and somewhat surprising win, over #23 Kansas — unless, of course, KU ain’t all that, or TTU is something more than that.

Sacred Heart got a little of it’s swagger back, and handed St. Francis (PA) its first NEC loss.

Those Stetson Hatters are now 7-0 in the A-Sun (school record 10 wins in a row). They meet up fellow 7-0ers, FGCU, on January 26th, in Florida. Looks to be fun game.

It’s been a tough year so far, but the Bonnies can still beat UMass.

The Big South is kinda feisty. Winthrop took down Presbyterian. Liberty beat the Fightin’ Camels, and face Conference leader Longwood (who came back from 17 down to get a victory) next.

With a squeaker over New Hampshire, the Terriers have moved to 6-0 in the America East. They face 5-0 Albany next.

I’m not reading too much in to it, but it looks like the youngsters at Villanova have gotten some seasoning — they’re 4-0 in Big East play.

I’m still not reading too much in to it, but St. Francis (NY) won another game. Yes, wins in the past have been that rare that I notice. Credit new coach John Thurston.

Central Michigan stomped all over Northern Illinois, and is now 4-0 in the MAC. Akron got surprised by Western Michigan, but Toledo took care of Buffalo.

Looks like coach Michelle Clark-Heard learned a lot at Louisville:  The Hilltoppers are now 8-1 in the Sun Belt. They’ll meet fellow 8-1ers MTSU in a couple of games, January 27th AT Murfreesboro..

Hampton had a nice second half over Morgan State, and is now 4-0 in the MEAC.

In the Battle of the Big Sky, Tricia’s Montana State took down Robin’s Montana, 58-49.

Gonzaga has put together three straight wins since its lost against the Gaels of St. Mary.

Nice win for IUPUI and coach Parkinson (remember when they were a hot-coaching mess?) as they handed the Jackrabbits of South Dakota State their first Summit Conference loss, 57-56.

In the battle of the birds, the Phoenix took down the Penguins, and Green Bay is now 4-0 in the Horizon.

Boink: The Shockers moved to 4-0 in the MVC, after they gave Creighton their first Conference loss, 67-45.

Hmmm… that’s Seattle U at 7-0 in the WAC. Not looking too far ahead, but… they’ll go up against Utah State (currently 5-2) on Feb 2.

Chattanooga gave Davidson just enough hope to keep the game interesting, but exited with the win, 60-56, taking them to 6-1 in the Southern. That helps them keep pace with Samford and Elon.

In the past two days, two Elon University basketball players had something special happen to them on the hardwood in Alumni Gym.

One of them started most of their first two seasons. Then after suffering an injury two games into their junior season and missing the rest of the year, their playing time lessened, all the way to playing just 42 minutes in ten games this season.

Another one played two games of their sophomore season before tearing their ACL and missing over a year of basketball before returning to action this week.

Both played efficient minutes in their respective teams’ most recent games, helping to spark their teams to victory.

Marist may not be making national noise, but their still winning in the MAC. They held Canisius to 9 points in the first half.

Win or lose, Ohio State still has the Dispatch’s Jim Massie’s fine writing to fall back on. He reflects on the Buckeye’s struggles: Ohio State wants to add to success

As the Big Ten losses mounted, the Ohio State women’s basketball team had to develop the kind of tunnel vision that spelunkers need while exploring a cave as confining as a coffin.

At 0-4 in the conference, the only direction the Buckeyes could move was forward. And even after Ohio State trounced Indiana 68-45 on Thursday to end its losing streak, the single-mindedness couldn’t change.

While Nate considered Three things we learned about Stanford from the Battle of the Bay, Chiney made sure UCLA didn’t get any ideas, and led Stanford to a Bruin-stomping, 75-49. Writes Michelle:

Maybe playing Stanford on Friday night was a little like stepping in front of a freight train.

The Cardinal stared at the business end of a three-game home losing streak, something that hadn’t happened since way back in the 1986-87 season when Tara VanDerveer was a second-year Cardinal coach and parachute pants were all the rage.

Tomorrow, undefeated Duke goes to Connecticut to play the Huskies. At DWHoops, Rob Clough has a preview:

UConn’s top priority will be disconnecting Chelsea Gray from the rest of the team. They’ll face-guard her in an effort to get her to give up the ball or never get it in the first place. They’ll flood passing lanes in an effort to pick off passes made under duress. They’ll let her take contested jump shots all she wants, especially if Gray hesitates before shooting. If you hesitate before taking a shot against UConn, then they’ve already won.

As for UConn, Hartley was better against Louisville, but rolled her ankle (again) against Syracuse.

At Mel’s blog, Mike Siroky has his SEC Report: New Uniform for Bone – Still an SEC Star

Kelsey Bone is used to coming out parties.

Maybe all children born on New Year’s Eve arrive with great expectations.

She is back in the SEC after once playing at South Carolina and earning Newcomer of the Year honors with nine double-doubles. She transferred to Texas A&M and sat out the required year, but stayed busy. Last season, as a sophomore, she was the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and a member of the conference all-tournament team.

A good, but hard read, from Lady Swish: You’re Old Dominion’s Sara Jones, and here’s what that means

The doctor didn’t believe that the cancer had come back.

“For that to be so,” he explained to Sara Jones, “it would have to have eaten through the bone.”

Somehow, it did.

For the third time, Sara Jones had cancer. For the third time Sara Jones, 40 years old, has cancer. Metastatic cancer, and metastatic — the cancer has spread to other parts of the body — is one of those words —malignant, chemotherapy, tumor — that it hurts to say. Especially when you think you’ve beaten cancer not once, but twice. Remember, you weren’t supposed to even have it in the first place. That’s what the doctor said not once, but twice.

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Or perhaps it was the fact that Tech’s best scorer didn’t make the trip? Either way, Kansas stomped their way to a 19pt upset of #23 Texas Tech. (Yah, but K-State lost to Iowa State. How much fun is it for writers to type, “Poppens pops off for 23”?).

It was close at first, and it stayed close. The Bonnies escape the clutches of the Hawks, 68-61.

It was close at first, and it stayed close. The Terriers escape the clutches of the Retrievers, 59-53.

It wasn’t so close in the first, but it got closer. Still, the Falcons escape the clutches of the Cardinals., 63-52.

Indications of a good, well-coached team: Toledo loses their best player a while ago, and still puts together a 5-2 MAC record.

Good one between Richmond and Dayton — Flyers come out on top in OT, 81-78.

American kept Bucknell defeated in the Patriot and themselves undefeated, 71-45.

It was close at first, and then it wasn’t even close to close at the end. You could have taken away Tiffany Hayes’ 35pts and UConn would still have beaten Syracuse by 6.

The Orange are set to join ex-Big East member Boston College in the ACC. Wonder if coach Hatchell will enjoy playing ‘Cuse as much as she enjoys playing BC.

It was a tussle, but Georgia Tech topped Virginia, 63-53.

Sun Belt (and I mean Middle Tennessee) shouldn’t sleep on the Florida Atlantic Owls. They’re now 6-2 in the conference. (Yes, I know, so are the UALR Trojans & the Denver Pioneers, but that’s in the West.)

Okay, I know it’s the WCC v. the ACC, but how come 19-3 (7-1) BYU isn’t ranked (in the ESPN polls) and North Carolina (14-5) is?

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a glass half full or glass half empty kinda person?

I guess tonight it depends on which side of the glass you ended up on.

Texas got its most significant win of the season (so far) by going in to College Station (perhaps for the last time?) and upsetting #10 TA&M, 76-71.

It was touch-and-go there for a while at the YUM! Center, but #15 Louisville survived South Florida, 63-57.

#10 Texas Tech earned their first loss of the season at the Hand(s) of Oklahoma, 71-68.

The phrase “a tale of two halves” is  clichéd for a reason: it’s often true. Oklahoma State was within two of #1 Baylor at the end of the first half. And the end of the second half, they were within 25.

St. John’s squished the Orange.

Erfh: It’s going to be a long road back for Maine. They lose to the Terriers, 75-34.

The Bonnies dealt Temple their first A-10 loss, 74-65.

Don’t look now, but the Great Danes are 4-0 in the American East.

Still pretty glum in the land of the Musketeers: the lose to the Dukes, 68-49, and fall to 3-12.

Were Beth and Debbie at this game? Akron over Buffalo, 91-82.

A little wake up and smell the coffee at Missouri? With their 72-46 loss to K-State, they drop to 0-3 in the Big 12.

It took two overtimes, but Kansas got the win over Iowa State.

Ouch, the Monarchs let one get away: they had a nice lead over VCU, but lost in OT, 76-72.

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News out of Indianapolis

Indianapolis (AF) – The NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee has announced changes to its bracketing procedures for national championship tournaments, which will take effect in 2012. According to committee chair Marilyn McNeil, athletic director at Monmouth University, the revised procedures “will refocus the tournament on women’s basketball’s roots.”

Under the new procedures, the tournament seeding process will be based closely on geographical considerations. To ensure this focus, teams selected for the tournament will be placed in regions based on their distances from regional sites and then will be ranked from 1 to 16 within each region. In most cases, this will mean that teams will be assigned to the closest regional sites, and to the subregionals based on their distance from the subregional sites.

For instance, according to Dr. McNeil, if the rules had applied to this year’s tournament, Texas Tech, Texas, Oklahoma, Stetson and Utah would have been moved to the Dallas region, while Green Bay, Michigan State, Rutgers, West Virginia and Northern Iowa would have been moved out. This year’s subregional in Cincinnati would have included Bowling Green, Louisville, Notre Dame and Xavier.

“We’re always looking at ways to increase attendance at regional sites,” said Dr. McNeil.

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which may explain why Notre Dame got blown out and Baylor got blown over.

In retrospect, we should have been paying more attention to the game at Texas Tech. #1 Baylor hadn’t been playing particularly elegantly and Texas Tech had been rumbling. But really, who expected that yesterday Kristy Curry would get the biggest victory of her tenure with the Red Raiders?

“I don’t think we ever had a doubt that we couldn’t do it from the beginning,” Tech sophomore guard Casey Morris said. “We know we can beat Texas A&M, we know we can beat Baylor, and we know we can beat anybody.

Wrote Mechelle: Pumped up Texas Tech upsets Baylor

…perhaps it’s really not very surprising that Tech’s still-simmering emotions helped result in a big upset.

Texas Tech bottled up Baylor’s offense, while coach Kim Mulkey’s team seemed to have bottled up much of its passion. Which actually was understandable, even if it might have cost Baylor on this particular day.

They got the New York Time’s attention:

The Lady Raiders wore pink jerseys and the arena was blanketed in the color as part of a breast cancer awareness campaign. The outside of the arena was blanketed by circulars that spoke to the venom that those involved with the conference rivalry also hoped to see eradicated.

For the first time this season, there were signs posted at every entrance encouraging fans to be loud and “get crazy,” but reminding them that profanity, racist or sexist comments, running onto the court and throwing anything onto the court were grounds for removal from the arena.

At Baylor’s request, there were four state troopers — twice the usual number — behind the visiting bench. Dan Burns, the associate director of the arena, said, “We want to ensure the safety of our guests.”

Meanwhile, #2 UConn spotted Notre Dame a 7-point lead and then took over behind their freshmen Bria Hartley (29pts/5 assts) and Stefanie Dolson (15pts) and rolled to a 19-pt win.

There was some upsey daisys in the Big East: Rutgers stomped #21 Marquette by 21 and Syracuse defeated #22 St. John’s by 11.

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Mechelle blogs: UCLA simply no match for Stanford

Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer is in this somewhat odd position a lot: talking up teams that her squad has every intention of going out and beating handily.

The Cardinal have consistently been at the top of the totem in the Pac-10 for so long that excitement bubbles anytime there’s even a hint that they might be challenged. VanDerveer likes the idea that eyes are focused on the Pac-10 … but she still wants the result to be same old, same old.

And more: Kansas can’t keep up with Baylor – Game snowballs out of control for Jayhawks, who struggle against Baylor defense

Yet another winter storm walloped these parts Wednesday, but Baylor’s Destiny Williams loved it. It reminded her of being home in Michigan. She hasn’t seen snow since moving to Waco, Texas, last year when she transferred from Illinois.

After the game, she would have been perfectly happy to go outside Allen Fieldhouse and play in the white stuff. And the Kansas Jayhawks probably would just as soon have engaged Baylor in a snowball fight. They might have had better luck than they did on the basketball court. At the very least, it couldn’t have been any worse.

And even more: Texas Tech on the right track in ’11 – Lady Raiders hope to make first NCAA tournament appearance since 2005

The past few years, it has been wise for Texas Tech coach Kristy Curry to keep in mind the motto of nothing ever being as good or bad as it seems. Except, of course, sometimes things really were that bad.

Just a little gallows humor here. When so much of your life is about winning basketball games in a place where people really do care a lot about that, it can be hard to know just what “perspective” is, let alone successfully keep it.

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putting the past in the past and welcoming the present:

Jordan Barncastle ready to move on

There was no apology from Baylor’s Brittney Griner to Texas Tech’s Jordan Barncastle at Big 12 media day. In fact, the two didn’t talk or even see each other.

Barncastle was on the receiving end of the punch from Griner that went viral last March. The 6-foot-8 dunking sensation broke Barncastle’s nose after the two tussled in the lane during a game in Lubbock, Texas.

Griner, who was suspended two games, issued a general apology for her actions, but she hasn’t told Barncastle directly that she’s sorry.

“I have not crossed paths with her,” Barncastle said Wednesday. “The Baylor team went in the early session this morning. Maybe by coincidence, maybe not, we were in the later session.”

Jessica Breland ready to return

Jessica Breland doesn’t mind the prodding questions about her health. The North Carolina forward is getting comfortable taking a front-and-center position in the fight against cancer.

Back on the basketball court 1½ years after being diagnosed with the disease, she wants others to find hope in her comeback story.

“A lot of people wouldn’t want to kind of put their business out there, probably, but I think it’s for a good cause,” Breland said Tuesday. “Every time I talk to someone about the cancer stuff, I can just tell that their spirits are uplifted — especially young kids.

“I get something back in return from it, because I experienced it,” she added.

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